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James Hamilton-Paterson

© Basso Cannarsa

James Hamilton-Paterson

James Hamilton-Paterson lives and works in Italy. He is the author of several novels, including Loving Monsters and Gerontius, winner of the Whitbread Best First Novel Award in 1989, a collection of essays dedicated to the lost grandeur of the sea entitled Seven-Tenths, and several non-fiction books including America’s Boy, a study of Ferdinand Marcos and the Philippines. He is also the author of two books of poetry and a regular contributor to Granta.

All James Hamilton-Paterson's books

Latest reviews

  • ‘Tis the season, as they say, to stuff your face. Thanksgiving, that hallowed day of highly caloric foods and oft-tempestuous family relations, is upon us. To celebrate — or just to escape the festivities for a while — why not nourish the foodie in you with some gourmand-friendly...
    — Nov 25 2013
  • 1. There is nothing positive about the dictionary definition of “obsession” – it haunts, is abnormal and persistent, like a bad rash. Tossing the word into a conversation typically indicates some form of criticism about a person and that person’s particular pursuit.
    — Apr 26 2010
  • from Rancid Pansies By James Hamilton Paterson Reviewed by Alexandra Mullen January 6, 2008 Rancid pansies: Put that phrase on your tongue and roll it around for mouthfeel. Musky, dark, smooth, even unctuous; a bit, hmm, malevolent, perhaps,...
    — Jan 8 2009
  • "Rancid Pansies" is the third installment in British author James Hamilton-Paterson's campy comic saga about hack writer and self-styled "culinary genius" Gerald Samper. At this stage, trying to bring readers up to date on Gerry's misadventures is a bit like attempting to make...
    — Dec 23 2008
  • Gerald Samper made his debut in James Hamilton-Paterson’s deliciously nasty Tuscan farce Cooking with Fernet Branca. One of the best comic novels in recent years, it was full of withering, sub-Wildean witticisms about Tony Blair’s ‘Tuscminster’, with its olive oil snobs...
    — Jan 18 2007
  • If the thought of one more romantic story or memoir set in the glorious Italian countryside makes you want to puke, James Hamilton-Paterson's Cooking with Fernet Branca just might be the best summer read you've ever experienced. In this bitingly witty satire, Hamilton-Paterson...
    — Dec 8 2006
  • "Amazing Disgrace": A ghost writer and his "shark-pruned" subject Gerald Samper — ghost writer to semi-illiterate celebrities, enthusiastic perpetrator of culinary horrors, proud owner of a mountaintop villa in Tuscany — is back. British writer James Hamilton-Paterson...
    — Dec 4 2006
  • A Sparkling String of Perils The amazingly prolific and astonishingly sophisticated James Hamilton-Paterson has given us another novel, as offbeat and unexpected as any of the rest. He's a man of unabashed contradictions: someone who's lived all over the world, written...
    — Nov 24 2006
  • Gerald Samper, the “niche creature par excellence” who narrates this novel, has forsaken the rabble of England for a house high on a Tuscan hill, where he ghostwrites the zippy memoirs of sports heroes, suffers hilarious mishaps, and whips up exotic recipes included in the...
    — Nov 14 2006
  • Our Assessment: B+: good fun, great voice   Amazing Disgrace continues the story of professional ghostwriter Gerald Samper from Cooking with Fernet Branca. He's still living in his out-of-the-way Italian home and while neighbour Marta seems to have disappeared...
    — Nov 12 2006
  • Gerald Samper, an irrepressible middle-aged Brit, divides his time between London and a Tuscan villa, where he sips wine, savors his own curious culinary creations (like “Badger Wellington” and “Death Roe”), and pens biographies of sports and media personalities. (The...
    — Sep 20 2006
  • A British satirical novel skewers celebrity autobiographies, environmental activism and the idyllic life in Tuscany. Introduced previously, in Cooking with Fernet Branca (2004), Gerald Samper returns with his flamboyant wit and self-absorption undiminished. He also retains...
    — Aug 24 2006
  • This stylishly funny follow-up to Cooking with Fernet-Branca continues the story of Gerald Samper, the English ghostwriter of exuberant sports and media autobiographies. It's a couple of years later, and Samper, still at his Tuscan retreat, is bereft of the hard-won...
    — Aug 24 2006
  • THE success of this novel about a ghostwriter who's as nasty as the bottled bile of the title came as a surprise in Britain, especially to the book's author. "I wrote 'Cooking With Fernet Branca' to cheer myself up at a low point," James Hamilton-Paterson observed in The Guardian.
    — Dec 27 2005
  • What can you say about an Italian-set novel in which one of the characters considers borrowing the title of Frances Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun" for his autobiography, adjusting it slightly to make it "Under a Tuscan's Son"? Pretty silly, yes. But also pretty funny.
    — Nov 9 2005
  • If one were to imagine the house of fiction, the Serious Novel would be the front parlor, a showcase of antique furniture, with a few well-chosen prints on cream-colored walls and a Steinway baby grand in the corner (note the Chopin Etude artfully displayed on the keyboard stand).
    — Sep 19 2005
  • In this comic novel, two expats try to live on the same Tuscan mountaintop for the summer without killing each other: Gerald, an effete English snob and amateur cook who makes his living as a ghostwriter; and Marta, a bohemian composer from a crime family in a former Soviet republic.
    — Sep 3 2005
  • Usually writers taking a holiday from their serious work will use a pseudonym (DeLillo as Cleo Birdwell), but British novelist Hamilton-Paterson (Gerontius, etc.), who lives in Italy, bravely serves a very funny sendup of Italian-cooking-holiday-romance novels, without any camouflage.
    — Aug 30 2005


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